Courtesy of The Huffington Post
By Laiza King
With the undeniable growth of the internet and its unending security flaws, most people are becoming more susceptible to identity theft issues. From retailers to freelancers, agencies, and students; there’s no discrimination when hackers decide to strike.
Your information, no matter how small, is very important and should be protected speedily, especially in today’s digital and hyper-informational age.
In 2012 alone, a report by Javelin Strategy & Research states that over 12.6 million people were victims of identity theft. These numbers do not include the cases that are not reported, and also inadequately convey the true depth of the threat.
As such identity hacks and data breaches consistently make news, there are several proactive measures that all should take to stay safe.
Identity theft protection services are also on the rise, to ensure they meet the flooding reports from identity theft victims and others looking to protect their information. And with several of such companies offering to help people monitor their credit, rebuild and reclaim their identity after theft, it’s important to consider certain the features before paying for the service.
Below are 5 importance areas to consider before choosing an identity theft protection service in 2016.
1. Compare Credible Identity Theft Protection Services
Before paying for any identity theft protection service, you should first compare different credible and highly recommended service companies. Such companies offer services ranging from credit monitoring, replacement services, identity theft insurance, protection of personal information from identity thieves, reimbursement of stolen goods and much more.
Through a side by side comparison, you’ll effectively make better decisions depending on your pressing needs and probably affordability.
Steven Toporoff, attorney at the Federal Trade Commission, under the division of privacy and identity protection, advices that before shopping for these services, it’s important to compare services by considering what they truly guard against, the cost and results they offer.
2. Review the Insurance and Guarantees They Offer
Ensure that the service you choose clearly provides accurate information about their policies and guarantees, including any limitations or exclusions that come with the overall package or their various plans.
Take time to review each of the company’s privacy policies to analyze their method of information collection and your control of such vital details, to further prevent inappropriate sharing of your information with other companies.
Avoid companies that don’t have transparent privacy policies or those that show shady attributes, especially through their content; also make sure to read some online reviews on them before signing up.
3. Read Reviews and Testimonials
Reviews can save you time and money, especially with various drool-worthy offerings made by these service providers.
From companies like LifeLock and Equifax, to Identity Force and even myFICO; there have been several recommended services, but it’s very important to read the reviews so you know which has the proven features you need.
Ensure you do extensive research, compare reputable identity theft services and read testimonials from legitimate people to get a better judgment. Some identity theft services might lure you with the content on their website, but reviews from different platforms will help you make better decisions on which companies are worth your time and money.
4. Choose a Service that Provides Clear Disclosures and Program Features
Reputable protection services should provide clear disclosures about cancellations, costs, customer resolution processes, and refund policies. Go with companies that clearly explain how the features of their plans work and how they help customers solve their problems. Avoid those that make empty, unexplained promises.
Before considering any plan, make sure you review their different feature offerings that directly meet your needs. In some cases, it’s best to speak with a customer service rep in those companies to further explain any features you might need more clarity on.
5. Review and Compare Pricing Plans
A good identity theft protection company will clearly state the different costs of their plans before asking for payment.
Compare the various products and services by reputable companies in order to avoid getting less than your money’s worth. Most companies normally offer levels of protection which provides additional services for higher pricing plans.
As you check-out, pay close attention to their payment procedure to further ensure that, as a true identity theft protection company would, they also adhere to strong security protection of their customer’s information.
Given the unavoidable stance of identity theft victimization, one of the most proactive ways to prepare for such is by protecting yourself in advance. The after-effect of trying to figure out the damage, attempting to restore your credit, and dealing with other stolen information can be a full-time job on its own. Consider taking actionable steps once you realize that there’s been a breach, so you can avoid further damages.
By taking preventive measures and also placing some protection around your information, you’ll reduce the risk of staying vulnerable to the attacks of identity thieves. But most importantly, before choosing an identity theft protection service, ensure that you gain adequate knowledge through research and reviews that help you make the right decision to better meet your needs.